Remember Shah Rukh Khan's iconic role as Kabir Khan in Chak De India? The Bollywood star convincingly pulled off the role of a tainted hockey player making the most of his second innings as an inspiring coach of the national Women's team.
It is a well-known fact that former Indian hockey goalkeeper Mir Ranjan Negi was the inspiration behind the 2007 blockbuster movie. A newspaper article about India Women's 2002 Commonwealth Games triumph motivated Chak De India screenwriter Jaideep Sahani to fashion a script around the goalkeeper coach Negi.
Notably, Negi was accused of having wilfully conceded goals during the Indian national team's humiliating 7-1 defeat to Pakistan in the final of 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi. The much-anticipated final affair was attended by the likes of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Amitabh Bachchan at the National Stadium.
Cut to 2017, the 59-year-old former India international, who is serving as assistant commissioner of customs, is in danger of being suspended in a corruption case.
Negi, along with customs assistant commissioner VM Ganoo were transferred out of the Sahar air cargo complex for supervisory failure after reports of smuggling operations surfaced, according to The Times of India.
The air cargo complex in Mumbai, which reportedly generates a revenue of Rs 14,000 crore, has been marred by smuggling recently. Negi came under the radar when the intelligence unit of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) red flagged a phone smuggling incident involving Rs 26 crore custom evasion.
The phones were physically cleared, but electronic scanning machines were not used prompting the CBEC officials to doubt Negi. The former hockey custodian is now facing the wrath of the higher officials as Chief commissioner Devendra Singh has written to the CBEC, recommending suspension.
While this is not the first time Negi has got into hot waters, the ramifications of the alleged graft case could be serious.
1982 chapter and comeback
Notably, in 1982 Negi was reportedly branded as "traitor" after India conceded seven goals in the final at a time when hockey was dominating the front pages of newspapers.
The custodian also revealed he was abused by the public wherever he went even days after India's loss. Negi reportedly went into hiding, but kept ridiculing public's claims of fixing.
After a long hiatus from the sport, Negi returned as goalkeeping coach of India men's hockey team at the 1988 Asian Games and the team went on to win the Gold.
Negi then played a crucial role as goalkeeping coach with the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold-winning Women's team, after which he served as assistant coach of the Women's team that clinched glory at 2004 Hockey Asia Cup.